I remember slam poet Shane Koyczan at the 2010 Winter Olympics closing show. He was the icing-sugar on an Uber-Canadian cultural explosion of a beaver-tail-a-polooza, the Maple Syrup on a bottle of ice wine, beer splashed on a pair of hockey skates! It was just about the best live show I’ve seen produced in Canada.
Category Archives: British Columbia
Lincoln MacCauley Alexander
On Friday, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Lincoln Alexander passed away at the age of 90. Having lived a great political life, politician and statesman Born in Toronto on January21, 1922, Alexander would serve his country in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, graduate from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1953. In 1968 he ran in Canada’s federal election and became Canada’s first black Minister of Parliament and held the post until resigning in 1980.
In 1985 Lincoln Alexander was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and became the first black person to serve in a viceregal position in Canada which he held until 1991. A year later he was appointed to the Order of Canada.
Leonard Stephen Marchand of the Okanagan Indian Band was born on November 16, 1933 in Vernon, British Columbia and after a career in agronomy, he turned his attention to native concerns and served with the North American Indian Brotherhood. He later turned his attention to Ottawa, lobbying for Native issues and after becoming a special assistant to two cabinet ministers, Marchand became the first person of the First Nations to serve on the federal cabinet. He was later to become the 2nd person of aboriginal descent to sit on the Canadian Senate. In 1999, he was appointed to the Order of Canada. He retired in 1998.
Below is a reproduction of an interview in the Toronto Telegram’s Weekend Magazine from November 30, 1968 with newly appointed Ministers of Parliament, Lincoln Alexander and Len Marchand. In it they discus their younger lives and how racism and bigotry had affected them. The Canada of the 50’s and 60’s could not stop professing it’s lack of racism, boasting the Underground Railroad and it’s forward thinking but it wasn’t until the late 60’s that this untruth began moving towards truth with the birth of a new Canada. In 1965 we chose a new flag, a truly modern flag for a new world and then in 1968 we chose a new kind of leader in Pierre Elliot Trudeau. In that same federal election, Canada elected it’s first black and first native person to sit as Ministers of Parliament and with that a New Canada began to be realised.
I attended Art in the Park this weekend at Trinity-Bellwoods Park. Our local super-park and one-time home of Trinity College (1851-1925), was overrun by artists and art-lover’s in this annual exhibition and sale.
The sun was shining, children were laughing, lover’s were canoodling (that’s right, canoodling!), I had a bowl of dumplings and it seemed that everything was right with the world. But looking past the veneer of paradise, past the squirrels, black and white, gathering nuts in unity, there was subversion afoot! Not since 2001, when Mel Lastman shook hands with members of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club in an unfortunate photo-opt, has something so scandalous taken place in Toronto politics. Mel Lastman claimed to not know who was shaking his hand, and when told he was shocked to discover that there was a chance that the friendly hand-shaking bikers might be mixed up in illegal shenanigans (that’s right shenanigans – don’t judge me!) like drug-trafficking!
But here in Trinity-Bellwoods Park where I once saw a cat leap from the top of a tree, over the head of a reaching fire-fighter on a ladder-truck, something more shocking and unbelievable had taken place and was now on display.
Kids, cover your eyes…
Allegedly, Rob Ford (Toronto’s temporary mayor) had been seen standing next to Sasquatch on the shores of Toronto Island. Artist Mike Riley had captured the event and was now displaying it for everyone to see.
Rob Ford has been known to be staunchly opposed to Gravy Trains, weekly weigh-ins and so horrified by Gay Pride that he doesn’t even want to be in the city in case he might catch homosexuality, but when graffiti artists began depicting him in an unsavoury light, Big Rob went after them.
Is it possible that now that his impromptu appearance next to Sasquatch Dave is out there for the whole city to ridicule that Rob Ford may go after art in general?
Sasquatch Eddie, who was visiting from the Fraser Valley in B.C. has been facing ridicule amongst his fellow-Sasquatch at home. In a front-page story in the local Sasquatch Valley Recorder, the Sasquatch community is in an uproar about Sasquatch Dave posing alongside Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, claiming it was poor judgement on his part. In an interview with Canadian Culture Thing, Sasquatch Dave claims he was simply making a silly pose for a photo for long-time girlfriend Sasquatch Velma and he “was just as shocked as everyone else that the Toronto Mayor jumped into the frame.”
Sasquatch Dave added that he has been having trouble sleeping ever since and has been having a recurring dream, “I’m in a large pot of boiling water and there a Rob Fords dancing around it and chanting that I have to “volunteer” for his Toronto football team or I can kiss my job goodbye! It’s horrible…just horrible.”
Let me tell you, you haven’t seen sad until you’ve seen a Sasquatch cry.
Edmonton-born actor – director -writer, Eric Johnson was by Valhalla on Queen West to sign his Maple Leaf Forever stamp for us folks at Canadian Culture Thing!
A big favourite around here, Eric played Whitney Fordman, Lana’s Lang’s jock-boyfriend on Smallville. Filmed in Vancouver, Smallville told the story of the early years of Canadian-Kryptonian hero Superman. Along with Eric Johnson, Smallville was packed with Canadian talent like Erica Durance, Kristin Kreuk and Aaron Ashmore.
After a season as Flash Gordon, Eric took the role of Detective Luke Callaghan on the awesome Toronto-set cop-show Rookie Blue. Rookie Blue tells the story of a group of Rookies on the Toronto police force, learning the ropes from their training officers and working the beat (and getting shot…and kidnapped…and BETRAYED!). Eric Johnson plays Luke Callaghan, the dapper Detective and main-squeeze of Star-Rookie Andy McNally, played by Missy Peregrym until he does a no-no and she finds herself a new man. Only time will tell what drama the future holds for the now brooding James Dean-esque Eric “Luke Callaghan” Johnson on his return in season 3.
On Wednesday (October 5, 2011) Canadian actress Jewel Staite of Firefly, Stargate: Atlantis and Wonderfalls (Yes, and other stuff too) was in Valhalla with her friend Chelan Simmons! Jewel very graciously signed the back of Canadian Culture Thing postcards #0097 which features a MapleLeafForever stamp of Jewel on the back. The Chelan Simmons stamp is in the next batch so we’ll just have to hope she comes back!
Jewel Staite was born in White Rock, British Columbia which sits on the Pacific coast south of Vancouver, just north of the Canada/U.S. border. She began her career in modeling but turned to acting at the age of 6. She went on to become Sci-Fi royalty with linchpin roles as the endearing Kaylee in Joss Whedon’s Firefly and it’s follow-up film Serenity as well as Dr. Jennifer Keller in Stargate Atlantis. I have to give an honourable mention to her in Wonderfalls, another short-lived but exceptional show set in Niagara Falls around a gift shop whose star has conversations with animated objects – just see it. Wonderfalls is from the people who brought us Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies, two more must-see shows!